31 August 2007

Before Karl Rove, There Was Bill Moyers

Hoover's Institution

Only a few weeks before the 1964 election, a powerful presidential assistant, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in a men's room in Washington. Evidently, the president was concerned that Barry Goldwater would use that against him in the election. Another assistant, Bill Moyers, was tasked to direct Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater's staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files.

When the press reported this, I received a call in my office from Mr. Moyers. Several of my assistants were with me. He was outraged; he claimed that this was another example of the Bureau salting its files with phony CIA memos. I was taken aback. I offered to conduct an investigation, which if his contention was correct, would lead me to publicly exonerate him. There was a pause on the line and then he said, "I was very young. How will I explain this to my children?" And then he rang off. I thought to myself that a number of the Watergate figures, some of whom the department was prosecuting, were very young, too.
-- President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct "name checks" of his critics and of members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater.54 He also requested purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic Convention from FBI electronic surveillance.55

Endnote 54: Memorandum from [J]. Edgar Hoover to Bill Moyers, 10/27/64.

This particular ad was designed to run only one time. We have a few more Goldwater ads, none as hard-hitting as that one was, and then we go to the pro-Johnson, pro-Peace, Prosperity, Preparedness spots.

Bill Moyers
UPDATE: Jack Shafer digs further into Moyers' background and credibility.
The Intolerable Smugness of Bill Moyers
Moyers Responds to Slate
More on Moyers
Bill Moyers' Memory

No comments: